The installation of the Maker Studio officially opened Aug. 19 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony for all staff and faculty to attend on the second floor of the library.
The Maker Studio is run by the Innovation Lab (iLab) and the Office of Academic Innovation and is open to all students and faculty. Equipment in the lap includes 3D scanning, audio visual production gear, laser cutting, digital fabrication, collaboration equipment and more.
Professor Olukemi Sawyerr, interim assistant vice president for academic innovation, wanted a maker studio in the library because other universities, such as California State University, Fullerton, also have one.
“Library makerspaces are common nowadays,” Sawyerr said. As a polytechnic school, she stated that it is necessary to have a makerspace in the library. The only difference with this space is that it is available to all students.
According to Sawyerr, serious verbal planning began in 2015. The first official meeting to start creating the Maker Studio began in October 2017 and was funded by the Office of Academic Innovation, the iLab, two Student Projects for Intellectual Community Enhancement (SPICE) grants and a lottery grant, among other grants.
From 2:30-3:30 p.m. during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, staff and faculty were given the opportunity to look around and learn about the technology that students will be using.
Seventy-five percent of the equipment is available for students to check out through the library at the front desk of the Maker Studio, while the remaining items will be labeled and catalogued later this fall. Starting in spring 2020, all equipment will be available for students and can be checked out for two weeks.
Students that want to access the new space will need to go through training to use the equipment properly. Kristin Prins, assistant professor in the English and Modern Languages Department, said the level of technology that the students will be able to use will be determined by badges.
“The space is entry-level across the board to make sure all students are welcome in,” Prins said. “We had a survey before the makerspace to ask students for what they want, took a lot of the feedback and what kinds of classes can the spaces enable so classes can use the space.”
Barry Lehrman, associate professor of landscape architecture, wrote one of the two SPICE grants to purchase different electronic components, boards, hardware, tools and more.
“The idea of digital literacy is a skill for everyone. Different ways to invent, to create these gadgets,” Lehrman said. “These materials are a chance for students to try before they buy.”
Lehrman stated that a consistent trouble students go through is buying the wrong product and spending more money than necessary. Being able to check out equipment through the Maker Studio will help alleviate this problem and help save students money by letting them try before buying, according to Lehrman.
Now that the Maker Studio is open, the next step is to expand and get new technology in, according to Sawyerr.
“It is really nice to see it in place and to see the team move it in place,” Sawyerr said. “I am very thankful and very excited that it is up and running. It was a lot of work and I am really excited for the future.”
Professors are able to schedule appointments to hold classes inside the space. Workshops will also be provided to students.
The Maker Studio is open from 1-5 p.m. Monday through Friday on the second floor of the library.
For further information, about the Maker Studio visit contact the iLab at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the iLab in Building 98C, room 6-06.
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